ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Marlins will ship second baseman Dan Uggla to the Braves for utility infielder Omar Infante and lefty flamethrower Mike Dunn. The deal comes shortly on the heels of the club's deal to sign catcher John Buck as a free agent.
Uggla was seen as a likely trade candidate since the end of the 2008 season, when he became arbitration eligible for the first time. His successful hearing resulted in a 2009 salary of $5.35 million, which bumped to $7.8 million when he and the club agreed on a deal January 18, 2010, the day before teams and players exchanged figures.
In five seasons with the Marlins, Uggla posted a batting line of .263/.349/.488/.837. He never played fewer than 146 games and he never hit less than 27 home runs, which was his total for his rookie year of 2006. Uggla was acquired by the Marlins from the Diamondbacks in December of 2005 in the rule 5 draft, which required that he spend one full year with Florida, or else be offered back to Arizona. He was named to the All-Star team that summer and became the poster boy for rule 5 thievery thereafter.
Infante figures to slot in at second base for the Marlins, though he could also handle the chores at third. He had a career best .321/.359/.416/.775 in 506 plate appearances for the Braves. He was controversially named to the All-Star game as utility man. Dunn put up gaudy strikeout numbers (12.8 K/9 IP in 19 innings) but couldn't find the plate with a map and compass (8.1 BB/9 IP and a 1.59 K/BB rate). If he can harness his stuff, he could prove useful out of the pen.
The return for Uggla is perceived to be thin, especially as the deal was within the division. The market for 30 year old second basemen, even with potent bats, proved to be illusory, and the Marlins were unwilling to hold out for a bigger return. The savings from an expected arbitration award will cover nearly half of the $18 million they pledged to Buck for three years.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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